Monday, January 5, 2015

2015: The Year of No Excuses

By Dave Hebert
NAGC Featured Member of the Month

As we stare 2015 in the face, fellow government communicators, there’s one thing I challenge all of us to do (sure, call it a resolution): stop making excuses about how hard our jobs are.

In fact, they are quite difficult, but it’s not because of the obstacles and the I’m-not-allowed-to’s that are easy to roll out when you labor to relate the government mission to the masses. It’s because there are just so many ways to understand and reach people now. Our hard work should be focused on identifying which tools and methods are best for our organizations and honing our ability to use them to a razor’s edge.

First of all, let’s get our measurement game right. Yes, privacy laws and other regulations can be challenging when you’re trying to determine if your efforts are making a difference. But folks here in the U.S. and our colleagues in the Canadian and British government are doing amazing things in measurement. And if you need a refresher on what metrics magic can be made under Federal regs and budgets, DigitalGov will steer you right.

Let’s embrace our loss of control. The only thing you really control are the words that come out of your agency's collective mouth, and with employees' personal social media accounts, even that control is fleeting. Don’t tighten your grip; instead turn your people (or your robots) into great ambassadors for your organization. And let the rest of the world get involved. Help your agency apply citizens’ time, energy, and intelligence to helping solve problems. That’s government of, by, and for the people.

Finally, let’s tell better stories. The problem with our press releases, web content, and tweets is that we often use them to talk about our organizations. Let’s talk about the people we serve, the employees who do the heavy lifting, and the amazing things happening through our mission. Watch this video and tell me it doesn’t say more about the mission than a heavily branded press release touting new procedural or equipment upgrades would.

This is a golden age of communications — step into the light, fair communicator, and make your agency shine.

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